Come to think of it; coconut is not a nut! It is a stone fruit (or a drupe in some fancy botany term)! Coconut is an amazing fruit that has a lot of use! In the tropics, it’s called many names about the number of uses it has! In the tropics, it’s sometimes referred to as the “tree of a thousand uses” or the “tree of life.”
I will not disagree with them! From the palm to the roots, people have found uses for the coconut! In the kitchen, the fruit itself is of high value! Guess what! Coconut extract comes from the coconut! In case you don’t have it, what coconut extract substitute can you use?
Coconut in The Kitchen
The coconut fruit has a lot of culinary uses. They can be used as ingredients to some awesome delicacies. You can chug down the coconut water to replenish your electrolytes! (You should try this if you are working out. Nothing beats a quart of fresh coconut water after running!)
You can use the coconut milk to get some delectable sauce and soups! You can make delicious coconut macaroons out of a desiccated coconut! And you can add the coconut flavor to any food you want as long as you got coconut extract! But, in case you don’t have it, in case your grocery store don’t have it, what can you use in your recipes?
Here are some of the coconut extract substitutes you can use when cooking at home.
1. Coconut water
Coconut water can be an excellent alternative if there is no extract available at your disposal. But depending on your recipe, this may dilute what you are cooking. If you are using this for a coconut flavored soup, this will be fantastic! Instead of broth, you can use this instead.
However, if you are baking desserts, this may not be a good substitute as you may not achieve the flavor with just a few tablespoons of coconut water! Replace water with coconut water instead!
2. Coconut Milk
Another substitute you could use is coconut milk. They bring a great flavor to your soups, stews, and chowders! You can also use them add them when baking cookies and macaroons for a creamy and refreshing coconut taste.
If you are using it in stews and soups, don’t overdo the cooking. Too much exposure to heat will separate the coconut oil and will make your dish oily.
3. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil can be a great way to bring that coconut flavor to your cookies and other desserts. Use coconut oil also or substitute the oil in your recipe with this. You can add this to your other savory dishes but is not much recommended. But you can use it to give that tropical coconut flavor.
4. Coconut Rum
This may seem a little odd, but, you can use rum as a replacement for coconut extract! Well, coconut rum is a rum infused with coconut extract. For the flavor. Don’t worry about the alcohol as it will lose its sting when cooked. Use sparingly on soups, chowder, and stews.
5. Imitation Coconut Extract
A more affordable version of coconut extract is imitation coconut extract. This is a chemically synthesized flavoring that copies the real thing. This can be cheaper than the coconut extract itself. But before you use this, make sure that your test for the taste. This might be stronger or weaker than what you expect and may have an overwhelming or underwhelming flavor.
6. Almond Extract
Having an almond extract at home can be useful. If you don’t have coconut extract at home but instead have almond extract, feel free to use them. In fact, the two of them compliments each other. Try mixing them together in your recipe!
7. Vanilla Extract
You can use vanilla extract in about the same amount as you would use a coconut extract. Vanilla extract is more available than coconut extract. Don’t hesitate to use it. Though you may not get that distinct refreshing tropical taste, at least you got some good flavor!
Why Not Make Your Own?
If you just can’t find something that suits your taste, you may want to make your own at home! Making it is simple, and you can easily make it at home! If you are up to the challenge, here is how you can make it at home. To make your coconut extract at home, you will need the following:
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees before messing with the coconut!
- To begin with, crack the coconut in half and drain the coconut water into a clean jar. Place it in the fridge and drink it when it’s cool! It’s a bit sweet and sometimes sour, that is natural. It’s awesome!
- After cracking and draining your coconut (and probably had a serving of the coconut water), pat the coconut meat dry and place meat side down in your lined oven tray. Bake it for fifteen minutes’ tops.
- Take the coconut out of the oven and cool it down over running cold water. By this time, the meat will easily peel off from the shell.
- After taking the shell out, you will notice that a brown skin still sticks outside your coconut meat. Take them off using a peeler.
- Cut your coconut meat to small pieces. You don’t have to cut them too small as they will go to your food processor.
- Feed the small pieces of coconut to your food processor and give it a go. A nice coarse texture will do. About the grain of instant oats will be enough.
- Measure a 1 ½ ounce of coarsely shredded coconut meat and mix it in a jar with one cup vodka.
- Give it a gentle shake and store it away from light. Give it a shake every day for about a week.
- Strain the coconut meat and save the extract. This extract could last for about a year when stored properly.
Seems easy? Yes, it is! No trick! Now you will not have trouble finding them in the grocery!
Coconut is a tropical fruit that has a high culinary value. Even its extracts are used to make other recipes delicious! But sometimes they are not available at your local grocery store. Or maybe you just don’t like coconut at all? But in any case, you can replace it with something that will still give you an awesome result! What can be a good coconut extract substitute?
The fresh fruit itself can be a source of amazing flavors! Using the fruit can be a little awkward for some, but it has been used many times in many Asian countries with great results! If you have a bit of extra time, you can make your own! This way, the next time you need coconut extract, it will just be sitting somewhere in your kitchen top!